Understanding Diabetes

Understanding Diabetes

by Bevon Findley (SU)

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a serious metabolic disorder in which the body cannot produce enough or properly respond to insulin, resulting in high levels of sugar (glucose). Glucose is basically the fuel that the cells of your body run on. In order to get the energy you need, however, a complex ballet of perfectly timed metabolic processes must occur in exactly the right order.

Sometimes this balance is disrupted, and the body is unable to properly metabolize carbohydrates. Blood sugar levels increase, causing serious health issues as the body struggles to use, store or remove these excess sugars. The cells in the body also become more resistant to insulin, forcing the pancreas to increase its production. Over time, the entire system can break down, as the pancreas continues to pump out insulin until it can no longer function.

There are two main kinds of diabetes. The first is called Type I, sometimes known as juvenile diabetes, because it can occur in children. This form of diabetes is often linked to autoimmune disorders that cause the body to attack the pancreas, where insulin is produced. Type I diabetes can also be related to other causes, such as a virus or bacterial infection, trauma and genetic factors.

Type II diabetes, also known as adult onset diabetes, is usually developed over time. This form of diabetes is linked to obesity and a phenomenon known as pre-diabetes. This means that your fasting blood glucose levels are elevated, but not necessarily high enough to be diagnosed with full-blown diabetes. At this point, the disease can be reversed with lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise. In some cases, medications or even surgical intervention such as a gastric bypass, which has been shown to eliminate diabetes in many instances.

Risk Factors for Diabetes

  • Being overweight increases your chance of diabetes
  • High blood pressure is linked to increased risk for diabetes
  • High triglycerides or high levels of “bad” cholesterol and low levels of “good” cholesterol
  • A sedentary lifestyle increases your risk of diabetes

What You Can Do to Improve Your Odds

 The best treatment for type II diabetes is not to get it in the first place. Simply changing your diet to include more leafy green vegetables, cutting down on empty calories and avoiding sugar can help immensely. Additionally, if you add twenty to thirty minutes of walking a day (or even every other day), you decrease your odds of diabetes by as much as 30%.

Walking, even slowly, sensitizes your body to insulin, which in turn can reduce some of the strain on your pancreas. Diabetes is a complex disease, but there is hope and help. New medications are being developed every day, and comprehensive treatment plans that work with your body can help you live a longer, fuller and more enjoyable life.

Dr. Dean Lombardo recently held a seminar about diabetes on March 7th, and continues to provide information sessions about healthy diet and lifestyle options. To get information on his upcoming seminars and learning events, contact Live Lean! Directly. If you would like to know more or have questions about diagnosing, preventing, or treating diabetes, or if you or someone you love needs diabetic care, please contact Dr. Dean Lombardo at Live Lean! At (888) 383-9197. Dr. Dean Lombardo serves Ocala, FL and the surrounding area.